21:54 GMT01 March 2021
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    The Scottish National Party has previously unveiled what it described as a "roadmap to a referendum" with an 11-point plan to pursue a second vote on independence from the UK.

    Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and UK Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove criticised the SNP for trying to distract the government from fighting the pandemic in the middle of a national lockdown.

    "At the moment, when we are prioritising the fight against the disease and also the need for economic recovery in due course, talking about changing the constitution and so on is just a massive distraction," Gove told Sky News.
    A Scottish Saltire flag blows in the wind near the statue of Scottish King Robert the Bruce, at Bannockburn, Scotland, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012
    © AP Photo / CHRIS CLARK
    A Scottish Saltire flag blows in the wind near the statue of Scottish King Robert the Bruce, at Bannockburn, Scotland, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012

    British PM Boris Johnson previously underscored "the great benefits of co-operation across the whole of the UK" ahead of his upcoming trip to Scotland.

    Commenting on his plans, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon doubted that his visit was "essential" during the lockdown, and blasted him for refusing to allow the second vote on independence, saying that the prime minister "fears the verdict and the will of the Scottish people".

    Scotland held its first independence referendum back in September 2014, which failed, with 55 percent of voters opting to remain in the UK. However, the Scottish people showed far less support for Brexit than any other part of the kingdom, with over 62 percent expressing their desire to remain in the EU.

    Tags:
    Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), SNP, Scottish referendum, independence, Michael Gove, United Kingdom, Scotland, Scotland
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